Fashion is going to the dogs

Fashion will be going to the dogs
in October when the Cayman Islands Humane Society presents its annual fashion
show and dinner. The event, which is set to take place at The Ritz-Carlton
Grand Cayman at 6.30pm on 22 October, is unique among fashion events on Island,
as it features dogs from the Humane Society shelter.

According to Pamela Hart,
fundraising chairman for the Humane Society, the event has a long and rich

“The Fashion Show was started many
years ago at the old Periwinkle Restaurant by Giuseppe and Suzanne Gatta. It
then moved to the Hyatt Ballroom and became a Ladies Luncheon, which was very
popular,” she said.

Post Ivan the event was moved to
The Ritz-Carlton, and as it was an animal-friendly hotel, the idea was hatched
to showcase this by including some of the shelter dogs in the show.

“The committee came up with the
idea of including some of our canine residents and having them do their own
fashion show with the view of encouraging adoptions,” recalled Ms Hart.

Of course, there is quite a bit of
work needed to get a shelter dog from stray to ramp-ready. The dogs receive
basic training from Kenneth Morgan and his team at Public Beach every Saturday
to better prepare them for adoption, and some of the star pupils are selected
to grace the catwalk, or should that be dogwalk, with their presence.

The human models at the event are
also a unique group and not limited to the usual uber-skinny teenagers who
strut down catwalks around the globe.

“Our models are all volunteers and
have usually included Miss Cayman, past and present. This year we will be using
mainly members of staff from Diamonds International, who is our lead sponsor
for the second year,” said Ms Hart.

As it is a fun event, members of
the public often volunteer as models as well. Of course, working with the furry
fashionistas can also present a challenge to the handlers, as stage fright has
been known to occur. However, an encouraging word can usually get them back on
the move.

The event includes a buffet dinner
and cash bar, along with the fashion show. There is also a fashion auction

“We decided to focus on ‘lightly
used’ designer items in a silent auction at the event, which has become very
popular. We have received great public support in collecting a variety of
designer fashion items such as handbags, belts, scarves, shoes, et cetera, and
these generate a lot of spirited bidding, also helping to increase our proceeds
for the event,” said Ms Hart.

Proceeds from the event and auction
will go to supporting the various initiatives the Humane Society is involved

“The shelter at North Sound Road is
an old building and is in constant need of repairs. Proceeds from our two big
fundraising events, the gala held in March at the Marriott and the fashion show
go towards maintaining the shelter,” said Ms Hart.

The Humane Society also has a small
clinic at the shelter where they conduct assisted spay and neuter surgeries.
Over 3,445 such procedures have been performed at the clinic and funds will
also be used to keep the programme running.

One of the biggest expenses is
caring for the almost 100 dogs currently housed at the shelter in addition to
the cats who call the shelter home.

“It costs an average of $40,000 each
month to keep our doors open, and being a nonprofit organisation we depend on
our fundraising events and public goodwill in order to continue looking after
the abandoned and homeless animals in our care,” said Ms Hart.


Tickets for the event are available
for CI$100, and include a buffet dinner and valet parking. Corporate tables are
also available. Tickets can be purchased from the Humane Society shelter on
North Sound Road or from Pinnacle Publishing at the Strand. Tickets can also be
purchased by e-mailing [email protected]

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